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Download speed way too slow

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I'm having trouble with download (and upload) speed on my new-ish laptop.

I have a Lenovo running Vista with 137gb hard drive (73gb of free space) and 2gb of ram. I'm on DSL with a connection speed of 5.5Mbps (supposedly!), yet when i try to stream video (hulu, or other tv shows from cbs.com, etc) it is horrible! Totally unwatchable. Actually, all websites load slow, it's not just streaming video that is slow.

I tried www.speedtest.net and here are the results:

download: 0.38 Mb/s
upload: 1.03 Mb/s
ping: 171 ms

In contrast, I also have a 3 year old Toshiba with only 80gb hard drive (only 8gb free space) and 1 gb of ram, running on the exact same DSL wireless network and it streams just fine, and the tested download speed is more than 10x faster than the Lenovo.

The Toshiba has been my workhorse for the last 3 years and still runs well. I would like to switch to the Lenovo, but can't get past the download speed. Everything else on the Lenovo is very fast.

Am I right to think there is some sort of setting on my Lenovo that will help with this?

I'm fairly computer literate, but definitely not a techie, so please be gentle with me. :)


Edited by brubend, 09 March 2010 - 12:15 AM.

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So you have confirmed that the speed of the Internet is not governed by your hardware.
Except of course when pages are cached to memory, the Internet may seem faster on newer hardware.

Since you have some computer skills, then I will say please try Safe Mode With Networking.
This will eliminate most installed applications (not entirely) but will hopefully show a different result on your downloads.

If the result are the same, then here's some pointers:
  • Update your drivers, you can do this at Windows Update
  • Run diagnostics on your hardware
  • Run system file checker (sfc /scannow) or better just Repair Windows
  • Update to Vista Service Pack 2
  • Confirm your system Bios is updated from your manufacturer
  • Backup and install Windows clean again! (very last choice)

If your system results are different. ie your Internet is now normal speed
  • Run MSConfig diagnostic tool and remove all Windows startups, restart and confirm normal mode works on the Internet well If so then continue turning one startup on at a time and restarting, until you find the offending startup
  • Download and run TFC by OldTimer, and remove all temp files
    or just follow the Malware Removal Guide

Sometimes it can be related to a corrupted Network setup or even a corrupted Antivirus or Internet Security package
  • Try THIS DHCP fix tool
  • Try fully uninstalling all live protecting Internet Security Packages (Note in some cases (ie AVG and Norton) a Removal Tool must also be used
  • Remove any sharing or P2P programs
  • Use Ethernet connection instead of USB or wireless
I hope this helps to begin with :)

Edited by Rorschach112, 09 March 2010 - 05:36 AM.
removed malware advice

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Since the problem does not appear to be malware-related, I would not recommend running all the steps in the Malware Removal guide, as they're not necessary. In addition, while your antivirus could affect your system's performance, the advice given by kimsland is to simply remove it, which I also don't recommend.

While the clearing of temp files may help your PC's performance, I also don't think that would have any significant effect on your download speed. I will ask one of our techs that is knowledgeable on wireless networking issues to see if they have any advice for you.
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Hi brubend,

This could be a hardware problem (wireless network adapter dying, or just simply as some wireless network adapters run faster than others..) but first I would check software..

Restart the computer in Safe Mode with Networking. Safe Mode runs with only the basic and necessary drivers, and without most of your startup programs.. check to see if there is any difference in your speed. Mind you, safe mode will not have Audio, and this is just a test. You shouldn't run your computer in safe mode all the time anyways.

To Restart your Computer in Safe Mode with Networking:
  • Restart your computer, holding or tapping F8 repeatedly, until you hear a beep, or get to the Advanced Options menu.
  • Scroll to Safe Mode with Networking, then press Enter.
  • You will see a large list of drivers loading.. this is normal, just be patient.
  • After a minute or two Windows will start loading, probably in a larger resolution than you are used to.
  • Log in as Administrator, or an account with administrator privileges.
Report any changes (or not!)

Also, when did this start occurring, and has there been any changes to the laptop beforehand.. (software, hardware, or updates?)

-Tony :)

Edited by ersatz, 09 March 2010 - 11:03 AM.

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